KUWAIT CITY – The U.S. Army reserve unit at the center of the Iraqi prison abuse scandal (search) is in Kuwait, preparing to return to the United States within a few weeks, a U.S. military official said Wednesday.
The seven members of the 372nd Military Police Company (search) charged with abusing detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad will likely stay in the region, however. One, Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits (search), has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to a year in prison.
Proceedings were under way against Staff Sgt. Ivan L. "Chip" Frederick (search) and others in Baghdad. "They want to have the trial over there," said Frederick's mother, Jo Ann Frederick, of Oakland, Md.
The U.S. military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the unit was in Kuwait conducting redeployment operations. They will return to the United States "in the next few weeks, if everything goes as scheduled," the official said.
No further details were released.
In Maryland, where the unit is based, the wife of one member of the unit said relatives met Thursday with Maj. Gen. Karol A. Kennedy, commander of the Army Reserve's 99th Regional Readiness Command.
They learned that the Army plans a quieter homecoming for the 372nd than most returning soldiers get, said Linda Comer, who acts as family readiness coordinator for relatives of unit members.
"This is what the soldiers want, I think. They want to be anonymous, I think. Why, I don't know. They didn't do anything wrong. They just want to come home," said Comer, of Clearville, Penn., who is married to Sgt. 1st Class Keith Comer.
Kerry L. Shoemaker-Davis, of Fort Ashby, W.Va., said she is eager to see her husband, Sgt. Sean Davis, who left with his unit from Fort Lee, Va., in May 2003. "I'm excited and I think it's about time," she said.